In the Easter Holidays our Head of Drama, Miss Bonsall, along with Mr O’Reilly (Senior Assistant Head) and Mr Rowley (Head of Music) took a group of very excited GCSE and A Level students to New York for 5 days. All the students who attended study either Drama or Music at GCSE or A Level or are heavily involved in regular school productions. The highlights included participation in a performing arts workshop run by a professional, a Broadway Show and a visit to the many key locations and attractions in New York City. The group stayed in a four star hotel in the area of Chelsea, a 10 minute walk from Times Square (where we spent a lot of time in awe!). We were also lucky enough to dine at Bubba Gump Shrimp (Featured in the famous ‘Forest Gump’) and Ellen’s Stardust Diner – a cabaret restaurant where all the waiters perform and sing whilst serving – it was very fun! On the evening of arrival we took a visit to the Rockerfeller Centre where they went to the ‘Top of the Rock’ to see the city skyline by night which was breath taking and memorable for everyone. There were also backstage tours at Madison Square Gardens, where students learnt about the legendary moments in history that took place in the most famous arena, and Radio City, where students met a real-life Rockette and got step on the great stage in front of 6,000 (empty!) seats! Another theatre the group attended was the Winter Garden Theatre to see ‘School of Rock’ LIVE on Broadway; a dream come true for many. It was even more surreal to see the actor that they had met earlier that day in the Q&A session performing on stage as a Rock God! On the final full day we took a visit to 9/11 memorial, ground zero and One World Trade Centre Observation Deck. This was a truly moving and inspirational day. Final highlights include walking around Central Park to find landmarks such as the Alice in Wonderland Statue and the Imagine floor tiles which commemorates the place where John Lennon was shot taking the ferry to see The Statue of Liberty.
Miss Bonsall said: “The students were superbly behaved and very energetic and enthusiastic for the whole trip! They enjoyed every second and became particularly fond of Michael B the Radio City Tour Guide. I was very proud of them in the Broadway workshop too, taking advantage of every second they had and creating their own mini musical! They were a delight to take away and I was very proud of their theatre etiquette whilst watching the show, too.”
This trip was far more than a holiday. Based in an inspirational environment, it was an outstanding learning opportunity, enabling students to learn from professionals and to develop performance techniques as well as experience new cultures and deepen their historical knowledge.
Thomas who attended the trip said: ‘I really enjoyed every moment of it and think it was worth every penny! My favourite part was the Broadway show because it featured mainly Rock-style songs which is my favourite genre of music.’
Helen’s highlight was: ‘the performance of School of Rock. It was amazing to see something on Broadway.’ All the students (and staff) thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are desperate to go back again!